- During the years after menopause, the average woman gains about 30 pounds.
- Hot flashes and weight gain especially belly fat are common during menopause.
- Abdominal fat is closely associated with insulin resistance and increases the risk of heart disease.
- Regular exercise can help reduce weight and control bothersome symptoms such as hot flashes.
Hot flashes and the inability to lose weight, especially belly fat are the common complaints of most women in menopause.
A new study shows how regular exercise can help reduce weight and control bothersome symptoms such as hot flashes, even in women who previously led sedentary lifestyles.
‘Regular exercise for 20-weeks had significant reduction in body weight, body mass index and episodes of hot flashes. An active lifestyle could be an effective strategy for women who are reluctant to use hormones to manage their menopause symptoms.’
Decreased estrogen levels during the menopause transition often create an array of physical and mental health issues that detract from a woman's overall quality of life.
The change in the hormonal milieu at menopause is associated with an increase in total body fat and an increase in abdominal fat. Insulin resistance or the inability of the cells to use insulin due the fat deposit surrounding it, is a risk factor for diabetes.
Weight excess at midlife is not only associated with a heightened risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disease, but also impacts adversely on health-related quality of life and sexual function.
During the years after menopause, the average woman gains about 30 pounds. Women who take hormones may experience less initial weight gain, but several years later, women on these hormones have gained a similar amount of weight compared to women who have never used hormones before.
The article "Improvements in health-related qualify of life, cardio-metabolic health, and fitness in postmenopausal women after a supervised, multicomponent, adapted exercise program in a suited health promotion intervention: a multigroup study" reports on 234 Spanish postmenopausal women aged 45 to 64 years who had at least 12 months of sedentary behavior and engaged in a supervised 20-week exercise program for the study.
After the intervention, the participants experienced positive changes in short- and long-term physical and mental health, including significant improvements in their cardiovascular fitness and flexibility.
In addition, they achieved modest but significant reductions in their weight and body mass index, and their hot flashes were effectively managed. This is especially good news for women who are reluctant to use hormones to manage their menopause symptoms and are looking for safe but effective nonpharmacologic options without adverse effects.
"Growing evidence indicates that an active lifestyle with regular exercise enhances health, quality of life, and fitness in postmenopausal women," says Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, NAMS executive director. "Documented results have shown fewer hot flashes and improved mood and that, overall, women are feeling better while their health risks decrease."
- Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton et al.,Weight Loss Actually Possible After Menopause, Menopause (2017).
- S. R. Davis et al., Understanding weight gain at menopause, CLIMACTERIC (2012)